Author : V.L. Valentine
Title : Begars Abbey
Pages : 240
Publisher : Viper Books
Publication date : April 28, 2022
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Winter 1954, and in a dilapidated apartment in Brooklyn, Sam Cooper realises that she has nothing left. Her mother is dead, she has no prospects, and she cannot afford the rent. But as she goes through her mother’s things, Sam finds a stack of hidden letters that reveal a family and an inheritance that she never knew she had, three thousand miles away in Yorkshire.
Begars Abbey is a crumbling pile, inhabited only by Sam’s crippled grandmother, Lady Cooper, a housekeeper and a handful of servants. Sam cannot understand why her mother kept its very existence a secret, but her diaries offer a glimpse of a young girl growing increasingly terrified. As is Sam herself.
Built on the foundations of an old convent, Begars moves and sings with the biting wind. Her grandmother cannot speak, and a shadowy woman moves along the corridors at night. For there are dark places in the hidden tunnels beneath Begars. And they will not give up their secrets easily…
| MY THOUGHTS |
A run down former convent full of dark secrets, you say? I really didn’t need much more information to know that I really wanted to read Begars Abbey. Especially as I had enjoyed V.L. Valentine’s previous novel, The Plague Letters.
Just like that one, Begars Abbey took a while to take off and grab me. The year is 1954. The place is Brooklyn, New York. The reader is introduced to Sam Cooper who is desperately in need of some kind of miracle. Her mother has died, she has no job, no prospects, no money to pay the rent. But then she discovers a stack of letters among her mother’s possessions. Letters that reveal a family Sam’s mother never spoke of in far away Yorkshire, England. Is it true Sam isn’t alone? And could there possibly be an inheritance?
Sam heads to Yorkshire and Begars Abbey, which turns out to be crumbling pile of bricks. The only family member who remains is a crippled grandmother, Lady Cooper, who cannot speak due to a series of strokes. There is a housekeeper who should possibly have retired many years ago, a few maids and creepy shadows in the corridors who might be the former nuns who never left. 😱
But why did Sam’s mother keep all of this a secret from her? Why did her mother let them both live in poverty in Brooklyn when the family was clearly once incredibly wealthy?
Like I said, it took a hot minute for Begars Abbey to hook me. To the point where I nearly considered maybe not continuing. But once Sam arrived in Yorkshire and things started to pick up, I was immensely glad I kept going. So, if like me, you’re struggling a little at the start, stick with it. It’s worth it!
Strange things start happening the moment Sam arrives when the person who is supposed to meet her at the train station doesn’t show up. From there, things slowly but surely get even weirder and creepier as the story goes on. Just like Sam, you have no idea who to trust. If anyone. There are secrets, dangers and odd noises lurking around every dark corner of this former abbey. Throughout the story, Sam desperately tries to reconcile the memories of the mother she knew with the place she grew up in, and to find out why her mother left her home at a young age, never to return again. I wasn’t at all prepared for the answers to that question. The revelations were quite a lot darker than I had anticipated, and also rather heartbreaking.
Begars Abbey is a delightfully chilling and atmospheric gothic ghost story. Intriguing and full of suspense, it had moments I didn’t see coming which ensured I ended up having a fantastic time with this mystery. Despite the little wobble at the beginning, I absolutely enjoyed this and I very much look forward to what V.L. Valentine comes up with next.
Begars Abbey is out on Thursday!
Huge thanks to Viper Books for the advanced review copy, which I received via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.